Grundy County Memorial Hospital | Live Well | Spring 2020

W. Keith Barnhill, PhD, ARNP, CRNA, DAAPM F cus on GCMH Specialty Services >> Q What signals a person that it’s time to visit a pain specialist? The pain clinic should not be the first approach to solving your pain. When a patient experiences pain that is persistent and unbearable, they should contact their primary care provider and begin a regimen of conservative therapy, which might include over-the-counter medicine, such as aspirin or ibupro- fen; physical therapy; or chiropractic care. If these therapies and inter- ventions do not successfully relieve the pain symptoms, it may be time to visit the pain clinic. Q Can you describe how a typi- cal first visit might look? The first visit is an introduction between the patient, their fam- ily/significant other, and the pain practitioner and nursing staff. It is important to have previous medi- cal records—including x-rays, MRIs and CT scans—sent ahead of your initial appointment. After a medical history and physical examination, a pain-related treatment plan will be developed. Patients are encour- aged to participate in the discus- sion surrounding any prospective treatments. Q Can you describe how the new radiofrequency ablation unit has enhanced the types of treatment you can offer at GCMH? Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a method of delivering a concen- trated amount of heat upon a small sensory nerve through a needle to abolish the nerve’s ability to conduct painful stimuli. Currently, RFA is performed on the cervical, thoracic and lumbar area routinely. Newer applications of RFA involve the sensory nerves that innervate the knee and sacroiliac joint. Q What’s usually the first guidance you provide to people who have chronic pain? Once the source of pain is identified, patients are encouraged to partici- pate in their own care by learning therapies that don’t rely solely on medication. I emphasize self-care and short- and long-term goal- setting for my patients. For example, spinal injections, excluding RFA, only provide relief of inflammatory responses. It is up to the patient to learn how to take care of themselves by using diet, exercise, massage, yoga, distraction and many other techniques to relieve and eventually manage chronic pain disorders. Q Is yoga or other types of movements among your suggested remedies? Yoga and stretching therapies are very beneficial and are encouraged in most chronic pain programs. Tai chi, dance and music therapy are other forms of pain distraction and exercise that help manage pain. When to seek help for chronic pain GCMH PA I N MANAG EME N T Grundy County Memorial Hospital’s Pain Management Clinic and spe- cialist W. Keith Barnhill, PhD, ARNP, CRNA, DAAPM, help people who are experiencing chronic pain. Here, Barnhill answers frequently asked questions about when a visit to a specialist may be needed. For an appointment, call Grundy County Memorial Hospital Scheduling at 319-824-5081 or 888-824-5081 . 5